Kevin’s response to the trigger green
My Peter Green and the End of the Game for us.
Image Copyright, Kevin Murphy
I had missed the early years of the British Blues Boom as I was a young Friar in a monastery. A few months after I left in June 1968, out of the corner of a community centre came an experience which changed my life. Some ethereal music was playing with the most plaintive singing and a heart rending wail of ‘I just wish I had never been born’.
It moved into a rock section which warmed me, before settling down and the singer finished with the line, ‘And I wish I was in love’.
By that point I was hovering over the Juke box and learnt that the track was ‘Man of the World’ by Fleetwood Mac.
After being cloistered away from ‘the world’ for the whole of my teens, the song stirred something in me. Yes, I had ‘missed the sixties’, and I did wish I was in love.
I needed to hear more, so I played the B side. I could have lost out so much. ‘Earl Vince & The Valiants – Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite’? It seemed like Fleetwood Mac must be a novelty band, having a B side not by them: they must have so little material as to be a one-hit-wonder band.
It was from that same Juke box that I first heard Jimi Hendrix with ‘All along the Watchtower’. Luckily I was taking Melody Maker occasionally, so checked both – Mac and Jimi. It took a while to delve into the history to find what I had missed in music: Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Doors, West Coast rock, the British Blues Boom all getting a grip on me.
In early 1969 I was elected Member Leader of our new Youth Club – Greyfriars, Oxford – whilst also suggesting ‘dances’ at the College of Further Education. During a steep learning curve, over the coming year I became Social Secretary, Soc Sec – and was invited to Melody Maker’s Battle of the Bands final. The show was memorable to me only for the act who covered the judging interval – singer of the novelty hit, Space Oddity and its even stranger B side ‘I’m a little Gnome and you can’t catch me’, David Bowie.
I had promoted Anarchy rock sensation The Edgar Broughton Band three times – Out Demons Out was their politics – Steamhammer, Gypsy, Gracious and Pete Brown’s Battered Ornaments among many others. So I did get deep into the burgeoning Rock Music scene.
I bought up the sparse back-catalogue of Fleetwood Mac, and soon realised that I was moved only by the tracks written and sung by Peter Green. This fitted because ‘Vince’ of the Valiants, was Jeremy Spencer who seemed to have only one tune and style – that of ‘Dust my Broom’ and I would soon be skipping those tracks.
I then needed to find where Peter had started. This led to John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers’ A Hard Road album, with the spine tingling instrumental The Supernatural. That became a live staple even with Splinter group thirty years later. And the singles – there it was, a B side, what was to become my song – Out of Reach – deep, sad blues singing, and spine tingling guitar – by an eighteen year old! The last line ‘I’m Out of reach, can’t take no more’, brought me up to date with Man of the World’s – ‘I wish I was in love.’
The search was now on for any opportunity to catch Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac live.
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God rest Peter who died during the Covid 19 Lockdown.